Duke CEO Rogers to fully retire by end of 2013

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) said late Nov. 29 that Duke Chairman, President and CEO Jim Rogers plans to retire by the end of 2013, which is both consistent with his contract and will help satisfy the terms of a proposed settlement of a North Carolina merger investigation.

A Duke spokesperson told GenerationHub that the retirement date announcement would help satisfy a proposed settlement with the North Carolina Utilities Commission over the panel’s investigation into Duke’s July merger with Progress Energy.

The Duke spokesperson said the company admits no wrongdoing in the proposed settlement but it will allow the Charlotte-based company to put the investigation behind it. Rogers had already planned to fully retire, meaning leaving as chairman as well, by the end of 2013.

A special committee of the Duke Energy board of directors will oversee the recommendation of a successor to Rogers. This search panel will consider legacy Progress and Duke officials.

Rogers has served as a CEO in the utility industry since 1988. Over that period, he has delivered one of the best average annual total shareholder returns in the industry, Duke said in a news release.

Rogers became president and CEO of Duke Energy following the merger between Duke Energy and Cinergy in 2006. Before the merger, he served as Cinergy’s chairman and CEO for more than 11 years. Prior to the formation of Cinergy, he served as chairman, president and CEO of Indiana’s PSI Energy from 1988 until 1994.

Progress combination sparked North Carolina probe

The final merger that Rogers was involved with has proved the most controversial. When Duke merged with another North Carolina-based power company, Progress Energy, in July, Rogers had already announced plans to retire as president and CEO and move to a role as “executive chairman.”

Rogers had initially planned to serve in that chairman role no longer than 2013, the Duke spokesperson said.

The president and CEO role at the expanded Duke company was initially supposed to go to then-Progress CEO Bill Johnson, who was forced to resign by the Duke board only hours after the merger closed.

Rogers then stepped back in as president and CEO of the combined Duke-Progress company. (Johnson was recently named to become chief executive of the Tennessee Valley Authority in 2013). The sequence of events trigged an investigation by the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

In addition to the North Carolina proceeding, Duke has also been busy in recent months deciding whether to repair or retire the long-idle Crystal River 3 nuclear plant in Florida.

“It has been an honor serving as CEO for the past 24 years and working in a dynamic industry that provides an essential service for our customers,” Rogers said. “My continuing focus for the remainder of my tenure will be on positioning Duke Energy as a stronger, more efficient organization for many years to come, while continuing to fully realize the significant benefits of the merger for our customers and investors.”

“I have worked closely with Jim since 2006 and have always been impressed with his dedication to Duke Energy and its employees,” said Duke Energy lead Director Ann Maynard Gray. “He has delivered excellent results for shareholders throughout his career, and the Board of Directors looks forward to continuing to work with Jim to deliver benefits to our customers and investors.”

Prior to July, Rogers said he had been considering serving on various national boards. During a recent earnings conference call, Rogers indicated he was not interested in succeeding Steven Chu as U.S. Energy Secretary.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.